Bicycle Commuting to Work

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cocoabliss

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Sep 2, 2005, 10:33:41 AM9/2/05
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In light of recent events and the consequences, I'm wondering if some
of you lifehack your way around transportation to and from work on a
bicycle. Any of your tips are appreciated, especially when it comes to
transporting the essentials with you and weathering the elements.

Thanks,
Julie

doug anderson

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Sep 2, 2005, 11:00:00 AM9/2/05
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I commute by bike several days a week. Ten mile each way. Lessons
I've learned: A good messenger bag is worthwhile if you aren't using
racks and pannier bags. Chrome brand bags are very nice - durable and
comfortable. However, carrying a laptop in a messenger bag is a BAD
idea. Alot of road shocks and vibrations you might not notice will be
felt by your delicate and important laptop.

HYGEINE - If you do not have ashower facility at your office, use baby
wipes. If they can clean up a baby's bottom, a little sweat is not a
problem. They come in handy dispensers that store nicely in a desk.
You may want to store your work clothes at the office or have dry
cleaning delivered there. I ride in wearing "bike clothes" and then
change into work clothes.

Many cities have bike racks on the front of their buses. That could be
useful.

Most important rule - don't get hit by a car and always wear a helmet.

Also important - get a reliable lock.

Doug

BigNosed UglyGuy

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Sep 2, 2005, 11:01:28 AM9/2/05
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Julie

As a 40 something cycling senior manager and part time geek, I think I can help.

Handed back the company car two years ago and took the alternative car
allowance. Used the first monthly allowance payment to buy a Brompton
folding bicycle[1] (on my second as first stolen) and a monthly travel
pass for the whole of central London - and still had change!
Subsequent monthly allowance payments, after purchase of monthly
travel pass, were money in the bank!

Until I left my job yesterday (emigrating to NZ next week), each
morning I cycled 12 miles across London to a mainline station, took a
train[2] for 10 miles (to avoid freeway) and then another 3 miles to
my office. Each evening, I did the reverse journey.

Although I have other bikes, cycle shoes and cycle clothing, I wore
regular clothes to ride to work, save for stiff soled cycle touring
shoes. For rain, I wore a good quality cycling jacket and trousers
when I absolutely had to but, as no fabric is truly breathable, I
normally didn't bother for light showers, preferring to shelter or get
a little wet. On occasion, and as i have a folding bike, I took the
river bus[3] or subway in bad weather, carrying the bike (in a cover)
as luggage.

As for transporting essentials, I either use a Crumpler courier bag
(on my normal bikes) or the large touring pannier[4] on my Brompton.
Both take my laptop and masses of other stuff without any problem.

[1] http://www.flickr.com/photos/59999295@N00/6929800/
[2] http://www.flickr.com/photos/59999295@N00/29000265/
[3] http://www.flickr.com/photos/59999295@N00/29000272/
[4] http://www.flickr.com/photos/59999295@N00/1320932/

Hope this provides some food for thought
--
bignoseduglyguy
http://www.bignoseduglyguy.com
http://www.bignoseduglyguy.com/no8wire
http://www.bignoseduglyguy.com/bnugwiki

cocoabliss

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Sep 2, 2005, 2:03:16 PM9/2/05
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Thanks, guys. I guess those panniers/bags are in the UK only because
they keep showing up on UK sites for me. Your routes make me shudder. I
only have to go 4km each way in a very small city (may even qualify as
a town by UK standards), but I do have RSI injuries to arms and upper
back to worry about. I think I'll go for the panniers instead of back
pack (rucksack) - I will keep looking for something that will fit my
stuff ('office' clothes, towel, toiletries, workout clothes, purse
contents, lunch and assorted things) - there is a fitness facility
across the street where I work out at lunch. And I'm lucky in that I
can take my bike up to my office, theft is not a big issue. But I will
have to take my cheap-o hybrid bicycle in for some adjustments to the
local bike shop.

I think I will have to get appropriate cycling clothing on the long
run. On my hunk of granite in the middle of the North Atlantic (Nova
Scotia, home to the most expensive gas/petrol in Canada - jumped
$CAD0.30/litre in less than 24 hours, as Katrina paid a visit), weather
can get rough. Winter should be fun.

Big nose, congrats on the move to NZ. I love that part of the world.
And sorry to see your bike was stolen.

Mark Hurd

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Sep 2, 2005, 2:49:27 PM9/2/05
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Hi Julie,

I commute by bicycle most of the time. My route is only about 2 miles
but I take the opportunity to cross-train for mountain bike racing by
taking some roundabout roads and pad the commute out to 10 or 12 miles
each way.

Gloves, a messenger bag/pannier racks, and a helmet are the essentials.
I also recommend shorts with a good chamois. I recently picked up a
pair of Sette Fieldsensor shorts on http://www.pricepoint.com for about
60% off. If you're going to be hardcore and commute when there is a
chance of rain, I HIGHLY suggest picking up a nylon rain shell and
cramming it into an empty water bottle. That way if it does start to
rain you don't have to go digging through your bag and getting the rest
of your stuff wet just to find the jacket.

Your bike doesn't matter too much: I ride beat up old 1980s Bridgestone
track bike that I've converted into a fixed gear, but I know other
people that ride mountain bikes and regular road bikes as well. Slicks
are better than knobbies, of course.

My office doesn't have shower facilities so I'll second the idea of
keeping some baby wipes and a gym towel on hand. Find a handicapped
stall if you need to and change in there (the handrails are great for
hanging your stuff on while you change). I also bring some Axe or
spray-deodorant to spray down with after I'm done changing. Make sure
you hang up your bike clothes and helmet on a file cabinet or something
so they'll dry out during the day!!!

Mark

ChrisMDP

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Sep 2, 2005, 4:35:15 PM9/2/05
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My old bicycle route through London - I did this for eight months, five
days a week. I can't believe I wasn't seriously hurt... although I was
knocked off my bike three times by nutters who weren't looking.

http://tinyurl.com/8tsk5 (thanks to sueandpaul.com!)

Tip 1) if you haven't got a waterproof rucksack, stick everything in a
plastic bag inside your rucksack.

Tip 2) Leave a pair of comfy shoes at work, Shoes are heavy to carry.
Don't cycle in your work shoes -- they'll get gross (I had SPDs so I
couldn't anyway)

Tip 3) If you have a shower at work, take a change of underclothes and
wear yesterdays for riding, so:

Monday: Riding in Sunday's underclothes, with Monday's set in bag
Tues: Riding in Monday's underclothes, etc.

There isn't a better feeling than walking into the office in the
morning after an eight mile ride, a shower and a clean set of clothes.

Hope this helps...

Chris

BigNosed UglyGuy

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Sep 2, 2005, 5:01:21 PM9/2/05
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On 02/09/05, ChrisMDP <chr...@rsons.org> wrote:

> Tip 3) If you have a shower at work, take a change of underclothes and
> wear yesterdays for riding.
>
> Chris

Kind of flies in the face of the age old mother's warning of 'wear
clean underwear in case you get knocked over', doesn't it?

:-)

Dave Emmons

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Sep 2, 2005, 10:35:33 PM9/2/05
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I bike EVERY day. 5 miles one way, mostly bike path. Locatin is Grand
Rapids MI USA
98 Schwinn Mesa GSX mountain bike with Conti Traffic 2.1 Tires.
I wear biking clothes...shorts, shirt, gloves, helmet.
If you have any darkness, LIGHTS on the front and rear.

Carry my clothes and work stuff in a LLBean Super Deluxe Backpack. The
backpack is mostly water resistant so make sure to wrap up your clothes
on a wet day. I find rolling the clothes keeps them from wrinkling. If
it rains, I wrap my clothes in the towel...what little water gets in is
absobed by the towel. The backpack has LOTS of space, has reflective
elemnts, a padded back and straps.

Work has a rack and showers which is very nice.
In the winter I use layering with a Cool Max shirt, Fleece Jacket and
Waterproof Wind breaker with pants designed for cross county sking.
Shoes are LL Bean mountain mocs and Storm Socks. Gloves are Perfomance
bike Vento Windblockers, with ski gloves added below 10 degrees. The
coldest I've ridden is -5 F.

Last winter wasn't too bad as the snow would melt fairly quickly,
leaving the trails passable. That all changed in February. Luckily the
side walks are plowed so it only added a little of time to my ride. I
want to add studded tires this winter to deal with the ice. Only had 2
falls but still more than I like.

I lost 40lbs and feel great! Logged over 300 miles this past year, so I
fgure I'm saving several hundred dollars....going up every day too <G>.

Websites of interest are the CommuterDude and Icebike.

Have Fun!

-Dave

cocoabliss

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Sep 2, 2005, 11:57:40 PM9/2/05
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Thank you all so much! I knew you guys would have expertise here. Dave
E., thanks especially for addressing the weather. Michigan and Nova
Scotia are pretty similar in winter, except for the plowing. I grew up
in Montreal and that town knows how to remove snow. Halifax is still
figuring it out somehow (like Canadian winters are a mystery). Good to
know about the weight loss. I could stand to lose about 40 lbs to go
back to my university days figure.

I'll post back with my experiences!
Julie

LikeSoy

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Sep 3, 2005, 8:36:09 AM9/3/05
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Thanks for the timely topic.. I used to commute occaisionally and the
hardest part, by far, was getting out the door in the morning. Here's
the list of reasons I'll tape to the bathroom mirror ...

* Gas prices
* Car payments (if I can commit to it)
* I could stand to lose 25 pounds or so
* New job is closer
* I have showers at work
* It's better than prozac (or an excellent supplement)

Norm

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Sep 3, 2005, 1:33:20 PM9/3/05
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* It's better than prozac (or an excellent supplement)

I second that - the mental/emotional  benefit of cycling to work has helped me be very productive sitting in my cubicle. 

I have a 'hybrid' commute. I start on my bike, ride anywhere from one to eight miles to get to the BART train station. Then after spending anywhere from 20 to 50 minutes on the train, I ride 4 miles to work. So when the weather is nice, I may end up riding close to 25 miles a day.

My total commute takes an average of 1 1/2 hrs. each morning. When I drove, since my commute is in the opposite direction of most San Francisco bay are residents, I could make it in one half hour. So in effect I spend two more hours per day traveling. The cost of gasoline and the cost of my BART ticket is nearly equivalent.

Before I started bicycle commuting, I got no significant exercise. I should have been spending at least an hour a day exercising, but I guess that was always on my "someday/maybe" list. Now that I ride my bike to get to work, I am in good enough shape to enjoy recreational cycling.

I also use the bike to run errands more often. The upward trend in fuel costs will simply encourage this.

A few comments about GTD and bike commuting. When riding, obviously the idea capturing part is difficult. I have used to voice note feature on my cell phone a few times, when waiting at a traffic light. Since part of the time I am on the train, I use that time to read, study, take care of any other NA that fits the context. Sometimes I listen to podcasts or audio books when riding, with just one earbud in place for safety.

As to gear, getting a rack and panniers made a huge difference. So did bike shoes, even with ordinary platform pedals.

The biggest hurdle is the concept that some much time is lost. My travel time increased by two hours, but riding my bike really is "getting things done."
--
                   :: Norm ::
bringing you uninspired signatures since 1995

Simon Carr

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Sep 3, 2005, 2:04:23 PM9/3/05
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Something that has helped me get out the door in the past when I have some hesitation is to remind myself that I'm going for a bike ride, rather than just commuting to my job. 
 
It makes a big psychological difference in my ride if I try to enjoy the trip rather than focusing on just getting to work.

 
On 9/3/05, LikeSoy <micha...@gmail.com> wrote:



--
simon...@gmail.com

Xian Pitt

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Sep 3, 2005, 3:11:48 PM9/3/05
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this topic has been so inspiring i hooked up the ride along tadem thing to the back of my bike and the kiddo is getting around town too!

LikeSoy

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Sep 3, 2005, 4:19:44 PM9/3/05
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Thanks for bringing it back to GTD, Norm ... amen to the idea that
riding ii one of the things I always want to do, but seldom do because
of of the elusive Next Action.

I'm a big perpetrator of Yak Shaving as Merlin Ccalls it. I want to
ride, but my gear is lacking a critical piece or my bike clothes are in
the wash or some other combination of things that makes me
procrastinate. I'm gonna pull out a bunch of lifehacks in an effort to
ride to work more often:

* The aforementioned list on the bathroom mirror
* Sleep in my bike shorts
* Put my bags and helmet in front of the door
* Check my commuter bike over now instead of Tuesday morning
* Get a redundant set of tools and leave them on the commuter bike

Going to do those last two right now. Thanks to everyone for the great
tips and inspiration. Have a great day, lifehackers ...

Dave Emmons

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Sep 3, 2005, 10:09:53 PM9/3/05
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I should mention the number of miles is more like 3000 not 300. Serves
me right for typing late at night!

The ride is a great time to think through things....no radio, no
phone...just peace and quiet. I find that having time to reflect is
very handy.

I also left out a key part in the winter gear. I have a polar fleece
cap that fits under my helmet and has a neck/face thing that pulls down
for when it's really cold.

Once you've been doing it as long as I have you start to HATE when you
are forced to drive. Your mind starts going over the fact you had to
pay for gas to do something that is normally "free". You are missing
two of your exercise routines. Makes you mad. Course that might just be
me <G>

-Dave

Anthony Baker

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Sep 4, 2005, 1:22:36 AM9/4/05
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Man, this is an awesome thread.

I don't yet bike to work -- need to buy a new bike after my last one
was stolen -- but I do take the train from San Francisco down to
Mountain View and then a shuttle from the Caltrain station to the
office. Every morning (and evening) I always notice the cyclists. On
Caltrain, they're always relegated to one or two specific cars and it
seems like a pretty cool club-like atmosphere.

You also have to admire the hard-core cyclists, the ones who continue
to ride during the winter when it's cold as hell or rainy.

As for time, one would figure that the added time cycling is
comparable to what you'd ideally spend at the gym on a daily basis.

Need to buy a new ride...

Joe Ganley

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Sep 4, 2005, 8:02:43 AM9/4/05
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I'm jealous of all of you. I can't go ANYWHERE from my house without
getting on a 45mph+ road with no shoulders. I do see cyclists on these
roads, but not me.

cocoabliss

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Sep 4, 2005, 9:21:07 PM9/4/05
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Wow! Yes, Norm, thanks for tying it into GTD, I almost hesitated to
post, but then I figured it had the angle of a lifehack which seems to
be in the mandate. I can see how those of you who are SF Bay riders get
an awesome public transit system and breathtaking scenery (as my short
1-time trip to SF showed me). A little north, in Vancouver, would be
wonderful, too and my latest trip there last year showed that transit
had improved by bounds.

Here in Halifax, we're only now getting new busses with bike racks, one
route stops nearby, which may be handy in winter (although my car is
paid for and a realiable Toyota, so I may chicken out in January and
February). The scenery, I probably take for granted. No spectacular
mountains but one heck of a harbour. Here are sample images (noen
mine):
- Halifax habrour from Dartmouth:
http://www.jarvisofhalifax.com/images/gallery4/1518.html
- What I fear most - winter:
http://novascotia.com/season/winter/phototour.htm
- And of course, Theodore Tugboat!:
http://www.nuevaescocia.ca/bahia_de_halifax.htm

Bike is in the shop getting an extension to the seat and handlebar
stems so I can sit upright and take pressure off my wrists (RSI,
computer be damned) and will get it Wednesday with a rear rack and an
Arkel utility basket/pannier
(http://www.panniers.com/panniers/utility/overview.asp?fl=1&site=cdn)
and put it to the test.

I'll post back with news and views. The first serious tests for the
pannier: the stuff I lug to work daily + a 6-pack of Sleeman (beer) on
the way back. :-)

Julie

P.S. Must mention that I heard that pets rescued from Katrina by HSUS
and Louisianna SPCA are set to go up on petfinder.org soon. Hopefully,
their humans will be able to claim them, if not, consider adopting.

ChrisMDP

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Sep 5, 2005, 4:30:35 AM9/5/05
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BigNosed UglyGuy wrote:
> Kind of flies in the face of the age old mother's warning of 'wear
> clean underwear in case you get knocked over', doesn't it?

After a few miles on a bike the underwear won't be clean anyway :D

Another tip I just remembered - if you can afford it, buy a nice bike.
I spent a years worth of commuting money on my bike (£700, plus £250
on gear - 1900 USD or so).

It was an excellent motivator to ride, because a) I'd already spent my
train money so I couldn't afford to take the train anymore and b)
Riding an expensive road bike is heaven - they weigh nothing, they're
almost entirely silent, you go much faster, and you actually want to go
riding each morning. No way I'd ever go back to riding a cheap bike for
anything but the shortest distances.

-Chris

Harvey Simmons

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Sep 5, 2005, 10:39:56 AM9/5/05
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Does anyone have any hot-weather bike commuting tips?

Here in Dallas, 100-degree highs are not unusual. I'm planning to buy a friend's bike this week, and use it for my (according to google maps) 2.7 mile commute. That is, as soon as the high temperatures are below 90.

I'll need to carry a fairly large toolbox and some kind of book bag. Right now, I'm using my old laptop backpack (a Targus), but it's heavy even when empty.

Any suggestions?

Miguel

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Sep 5, 2005, 10:53:45 AM9/5/05
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The Bromptons are great bikes. I made a mistake in purchasing a Bike
Friday. They're great bikes but they don't fold as compact and they're
nasty to carry around in the carrying case as the pedal and other
whatnots jab into your body as you and the bag move. I hope I can sell
mine to get a Brompton instead.

Miguel

bel...@gmail.com

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Sep 5, 2005, 11:21:30 AM9/5/05
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My tip is: just do it!
Don't think too much about bikes, helmets, bags, clothes... If you want
to start cycling to your work, there is only one step to take: get on
that bike! Once you travel every day by bike, you will find out quickly
what the next action is: if you feel unsafe, buy a helmet; if it rains
a lot, invest in a good rain suit; if your skin is irritated, buy a
pair of good cycling trousers. Only if you cycle you now what *your*
needs are. So stop reading this thread and hop on the bike.

Michael Langford

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Sep 5, 2005, 12:00:59 PM9/5/05
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Don't Die.
--
Michael Langford --- 404-386-0495
The demon that you can swallow gives
you its power, and the greater life's pain,
the greater life's reply --Joeseph Campbe

Hanni Ross

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Sep 5, 2005, 12:05:42 PM9/5/05
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Ha! Just what I thought!

Jon Hind

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Sep 5, 2005, 12:10:54 PM9/5/05
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A rucsac in those temperatures will soon get uncomfortable - very sweaty and may chafe round the straps. Can you not attche it to some kind of carrier on the bike ?

2.7 miles sounds a good distance.

Nik

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Sep 5, 2005, 12:13:55 PM9/5/05
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While I am too wussy to make the 12 mile commute to work (or the 16
mile commute from work to class!), I used to bike-commute to work and
have a few tricks that serve me well:

Get panniers! Yes, a messenger bag/backpack can be great for carrying
stuff and especially for going from the bike into the office, but a
pannier will let you run that errand that you needed to run and have
room to store your junk. I have two panniers on my bike, and one is
ALWAYS filled with critical biking gear: Bike lock, tools, spare
tube, rain gear, emergency ID card (just a laminated 3x5 which serves
as ID if I don't bring my wallet), a flashlight, and a few snacks.

The other pannier (which could just as easily be a backpack or bag)
can then be used solely for stuff I need for this particular bike
trip. Extra clothes, laptop (in a Tom Bihn sleeve!), and books are
all in there.

Item 2: Febreeze. Yeah, the stuff smells AWFUL all by itself, but it
really does a great job neutralizing that sweat smell. Spray your
bike clothes down with it when you change out of them, and you can
avoid having your office smell like a locker room.

Item 3: Lights, reflectors, and a flag. If you're joining the morning
commute crunch, do everything in your power to make yourself visible!
I have the luxury of living in an extraordinarily bike-friendly town
in Colorado, but not everyone does. If you don't have a bike lane to
yourself, make sure folks can see you!

Item 5: It's been mentioned before, but packing and unpacking in a
hurry can be a bother. I love the various Eagle Creek-branded packing
cubes and folders. Fold up your work shirts nicely, stash 'em in a
cube, and they'll travel to work without rumpling. Great for raingear
or other items you need/want quick access to!

Reading this thread is making me want to try doing that commute. It's
a long trip, but MAN would it get me into shape!

--Nik

mi...@wagmail.com

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Sep 5, 2005, 5:43:12 PM9/5/05
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Mostly great advice, bel...@gmail.com, except when I
see the part about bicycling without a helmet.

mi...@wagmail.com

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Sep 5, 2005, 5:44:11 PM9/5/05
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Mostly great advice, bel...@gmail.com, except for the
part about bicycling without a helmet.

#1 on my Next Actions list: "Avoid brain injury that
will make me even more of a drooling idiot than I
already am."

Mitch Wagner

CB

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Sep 5, 2005, 9:32:06 PM9/5/05
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Sorry, no tips, but seconding your request for info on cycling in warm
climates.. I live in Brisbane, Aus, where similarly, heat (& humidity)
rather than cold is the weather bugbear to face.

My issue is carrying stuff. I use a backpack now, but after even my
13km ride my back's soaking, and this is late winter/spring. I need to
do something different by summer.

I carry: change of clothes (don't need to be smart, so squashable),
lunch, couple of books & some A4 papers. Does anyone have suggestions
for what to use that would also be convenient for carrying stuff around
*off* the bike (essential for what I do during the day).

One possibility: I do have a largish soft briefcase that would be
perfect if I could find a secure & convenient way of attaching it to my
bike's rack (which I never use as strapping things on never seems
satisfactory).

Oh, and fancy German panniers etc are way more than I can afford.

TIA for any suggestions.

Justin Lilly

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Sep 5, 2005, 10:36:24 PM9/5/05
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Well, I've only ridden a road bike once, but it was 127 miles on a hot
South Carolina day in April. I feel somewhat qualified to answer.

#1: Sun screen. I forgot it on my trip and the next few days were
rough. Be sure to get the stuff that won't sweat off and doesn't smell
horrid. After all, you'll be going to work. Remember that you can get
sunburnt even when the sun is behind clouds.

#2: Gold Bond. Repeat after me, chafing is bad. In combination with
good biking gear (the shorts that limit friction, breathable shirts,
etc) a solid application of gold bond to any high-friction areas will
do a body good.

#3: Water. To prevent dehydration, I'd suggest plenty of water. at
least 1 litre for each hour you'll be biking. This is in addition to
your 8 glasses a day.

hope it helps,
-justin


--
Justin Lilly
University of South Carolina
http://www.justinlilly.com

oren...@gmail.com

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Sep 6, 2005, 12:58:43 AM9/6/05
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Harvey:

I've also been experimenting with bike-commuting in Dallas, which (as
you've no doubt realized by now) is an incredibly unfriendly city for
cyclists.

I do have a couple of good suggestions for you, though:

1) Before you do ANYTHING, consult the bike-trail map at
http://www.dfwinfo.com/trans/bikeweb/. It provides terrific,
bike-friendly routes which you can use instead of the major (read:
terrifyingly perilous) roads and/or highways. My bike route is
considerably longer than my car route, but I've come to relish the
quiet and the attractive surroundings. Plus, I don't fear for my life
every time I get on the bike.

2) Drink, drink, drink. Got that? And I'm talking WATER here.
Margaritas don't count.

3) If you leave early enough in the morning, you reap a double
benefit: no heatstroke AND you get the admiration of your coworkers who
are so impressed with how early you've started your workday.

4) Talk to the wonderful guys at Richardson Bike Mart. They know it
all and are quite willing to help n00bs like us.

Hope this is helpful. Let me know if you want to chat one-on-one.

jefff

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Sep 6, 2005, 4:08:32 AM9/6/05
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Just one comment on the backpack vs. paniers point:

if you're carrying any sort of weight, you're better off with paniers
or a rack bag. You want to keep the weight as low as possible for good
stability. Also if you have any sort of knee or back problems, the
backpack could aggravate them as biking body position is different from
hiking. (I had to take a train home on the 3rd day of a 200 km bike
trip, because the backpack I was carrying caused my knees to ache.)

On the other hand, a hydration backpack is a good thing for two
reasons: 1) if you don't have to reach for the bottle, you're more
stable and drink more often, 2) in can cushion some impact to your
spine if you were ever to go over the handle-bars in an accident.

John SJ Anderson

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Sep 6, 2005, 6:23:59 AM9/6/05
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Harvey:

I've also been experimenting with bike-commuting in Dallas, which (as
you've no doubt realized by now) is an incredibly unfriendly city for
cyclists.
[ snip ]
Hope this is helpful.  Let me know if you want to chat one-on-one.



Anybody here able to provide that level of suggestion-detail for the DC area?

thanks,
john.

--
genehack.org * weblog == ( bioinfo / linux / opinion / stuff )

LikeSoy

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Sep 6, 2005, 9:25:16 AM9/6/05
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Just wanted to drop a note ...

I rode in to work today. I feel great, and it only took five minutes
more than driving!

Xian Pitt

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Sep 6, 2005, 10:21:53 AM9/6/05
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just a note from me as well-- rode to school with the kiddo in tow on the tandem ridealong today- about a 10 minute drive- it was great! took about 20 minutes- we had a great time talking- kiddo  remarked that it is better because you get to see the garden beds and flowers up close. forced me to get my 30 minutes of excersize-anything!-in for the day and it was all over by 8am!
i think we will do tomorrow too!

mskat...@gmail.com

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Sep 6, 2005, 10:31:19 AM9/6/05
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Hi.
I'm a former bicycle messenger (1.5 yrs in Denver). I'm not much of a
mechanic, but there are two things I always tell my cycling friends to
pay attention to:

1. Regular attention to chain lube will make a noticable difference in
how easy it is to ride. My favorite brand is called "White
Lightning"-it's a clear wax that bills itself as 'self-cleaning'-the
best thing is that when you've used it for a while you don't get black
marks on your clothes so much from the chain.

2. Regular attention to tire pressure will make a noticable difference
in how easy is is to ride. Buy a floor pump with a pressure guage (NOT
a hand pump), and keep your tires at the max PSI they are rated for
(you can find this on the side of the tire). This will reduce your
'rolling resistance'. Also, do not commute with knobby tires for the
same reason-they take so much more work to pedal.

Also, Chrome bags are so worth the money.

For wet weather, wear two pairs of socks with a plastic bag in between
to keep your feet dry (I save old bread bags for this purpose).

Good Luck,
Kathryn

sable2005

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Sep 6, 2005, 11:06:36 AM9/6/05
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great post, i remember riding my bike to school (http://www.unl.edu) a
couple of years ago. agree with everyone who's posted about how cycling
can be therapy. i tell my workmates i was 10 times smarter in college
than i am now - part of it might have been those bike rides. my
favorite days were days i'd take the bus or hitch a ride home with a
buddy and forget that i brought a bike to school...

thea...@gmail.com

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Sep 6, 2005, 11:43:16 AM9/6/05
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I pedal to work (4.6m each way) about 10-15 times a month, and I love
it. I get frustrated trying to pedal other places from work because of
the extra bag or two (clothes, gear, etc) that I have with me. Does
anyone have a good solution for what to do with my baggage (the
commuting kind, that is) when I want to go for a drink, swing by the
store, and pick up my mail on the way home? Am I stuck hauling a bag
of laundry and books into my favorite pub every night?

ChrisMDP

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Sep 6, 2005, 12:04:17 PM9/6/05
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mskat...@gmail.com wrote:
> 1. Regular attention to chain lube will make a noticable difference in
> how easy it is to ride. My favorite brand is called "White
> Lightning"-it's a clear wax that bills itself as 'self-cleaning'-the
> best thing is that when you've used it for a while you don't get black
> marks on your clothes so much from the chain.

Seconded on this one. It also feels great to ride a bike that goes
whirrrrr rather than clackclackclackclackclack...

> 2. Regular attention to tire pressure will make a noticable difference
> in how easy is is to ride. Buy a floor pump with a pressure guage (NOT
> a hand pump), and keep your tires at the max PSI they are rated for
> (you can find this on the side of the tire). This will reduce your
> 'rolling resistance'. Also, do not commute with knobby tires for the
> same reason-they take so much more work to pedal.

Agreed on the pump - it'll take about 5 pumps to bring a road tire to
90psi with a decent one. A little hand pump is useful for flats though.

> For wet weather, wear two pairs of socks with a plastic bag in between
> to keep your feet dry (I save old bread bags for this purpose).

That tip is gold :) I'll try it next time I'm out in the rain...

-Chris

Todd Moy

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Sep 6, 2005, 2:07:50 PM9/6/05
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Another note from a new rider (Arlington, VA to Washington, DC):

I saw this thread last evening and decided to ride in myself. I drew up
a route using bikewashington.org, waba.org, and Google Maps. Typically,
my commute calls for a 15 minute walking, a 35 minute Metro ride, and a
10 minute walk. Cycling in, I made it to work in 35 minutes total,
averaging just under 14 mph. I ran into a few dicey situations like
having to cross 4 lanes of bridge traffic but nothing that I can't
avoid in the future. Unfortunately, my at-work productivity dropped
precipitously--I'm spending too much time planning my return trip!

Tait

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Sep 6, 2005, 3:53:15 PM9/6/05
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Nooooo!

please Please PLEASE buy a helmet before you ride.

Pretty please.

Tait

Dave Emmons

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Sep 6, 2005, 4:17:06 PM9/6/05
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Well, panniers would probably work but I would say plan your routines
out. I'm fairly lucky as the post office and the Library are just off
the bike path I use. Another option would be to have someone take you
to the pub and drop you back off at your bike....I do this if I want to
eat out at lunch (most days I bring a lunch ).

Changing gears here <G> a good chain lube is worth it's weight in gold.
Personally I use Hippie Slick (www.hippieslick.com) because of it's
good wet and cold weather attributes.They say their lube is good from
-20 to 200F...you are on your own past either limit <G> Also I would
recommend you replace your chain at least once a year if you ride more
than 700 miles a year.

Dave Emmons

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Sep 7, 2005, 10:25:24 AM9/7/05
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Not had much luck with the posts....I mispoke (pardon the pun) on the
chain...700 miles is for muddy conditions like a moutain bike would
see. For a road bike I think it's more like 1500 miles....What you are
looking for is chain stretch. If you catch it before it's too bad you
won't need to replace any cogs. I waited too long so cogs 4,5, & 6 are
worthless with the new chain. Time for a new cassette. Still cheaper
than a week's worth of gas.....

-Dave

Nik

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Sep 7, 2005, 1:30:28 PM9/7/05
to 43Fo...@googlegroups.com, CB
On Sep 5, 2005, at 7:32 PM, CB wrote:

My issue is carrying stuff. I use a backpack now, but after even my

13km ride my back's soaking, and this is late winter/spring.  I need to

do something different by summer.


...Oh, and fancy German panniers etc are way more than I can afford.


You don't need fancy German bike bags, just get some decent reasonably priced ones. I got a pair of panniers from REI on clearance for about $25 US. Check out Outlet.com, Reioutlet.com, SierraTraders.com and EMS.com's clearance site for deals.

(There might be some equivalent shops down-under, but international delivery makes it pretty easy, regardless of your location.)

--Nik

Norm

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Sep 7, 2005, 1:59:14 PM9/7/05
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and if you have a rack, there are a number of low cost methods. not exactly easy access, but I used a small duffel bag with a nylon webbing strap. Then I bought these for around 65 us dollars at a local bike shop:

http://www.pbwbikes.com/product_info.php/products_id/48

there is also the bungee cord and milkcrate approach -
--
                   :: Norm ::
bringing you uninspired signatures since 1995

mark_g

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Sep 7, 2005, 3:20:05 PM9/7/05
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Harvey,
I have to say that for a 3 mile commute I wouldn't bother lugging a
took kit with me. If you have a problem it's not very far to push the
bike to work or home. I only bother with a toolkit and pump if I'm
going on a 10 mile + weekend ride.
--
Cheers
Mark

mark_g

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Sep 7, 2005, 3:24:21 PM9/7/05
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I have to agree with beltza. 4km isn't very far... just do it and see
how you get on. I commute that distance to work and have just moved
from my good racing bike to a "sit up and beg" dutch-style bike which
is more comfortable, has a rack, enclosed chain, etc. If you take it
easy you won't need to shower when you get there. Just take a look
somewhere like Amsterdam, there are lots of people cycling around on
old bike in their normal clothes... you don't need to get all the lycra
kit, etc.
--
Cheers
Mark

Betsy Schwartz

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Sep 7, 2005, 4:01:11 PM9/7/05
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Another option: the Better World Club (a more ecologically-minded
competitor to AAA) has options for roadside assistance for automobiles
AND bicycles. This might be a good option for some folks. You can join
for either cars or bikes or both; if you have the car coverage ,
adding a bicycle is only $15.00/yr

https://www.betterworldclub.com/

(I'm not connected with them, just a satisfied customer)

Dave Emmons

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Sep 7, 2005, 4:07:34 PM9/7/05
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Very true...yet you don't get the great workout when don't you work at
it <G> When you do what I do (5 miles at a very good pace..) the Lycra
et al is very nice to have....and absolutely necessary in the cold.

A small toolkit and pump is not a bad idea either...yes you could walk
it, but what fun is that? I carry a multitool and a hand pump....never
needed either one but nice to know they are there.

But again it's all about what works for you. As I ride EVERY day to
work a little insurance is nice. That's why I don't care about the
weight of the slime tubes and the Traffics....Not getting flats is more
important than a little bit of speed to me.

-Dave

Norm

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Sep 7, 2005, 7:03:23 PM9/7/05
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This put me in mind of an article I read on Slate:
http://www.slate.com/id/2124561/entry/2124562/

"One night, strolling in the evening air, I happened by a theater as a play was letting out. A crowd of distinguished Amsterdammers poured onto the sidewalk. The men wore blazers and ties, the women wore dresses and cardigans. Most of these theater-goers were in their 50s and 60s, with wrinkles and bifocals and graying beards."

CB

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Sep 8, 2005, 6:26:28 AM9/8/05
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Nik wrote:
> You don't need fancy German bike bags, just get some decent
> reasonably priced ones. I got a pair of panniers from REI on
> clearance for about $25 US. Check out Outlet.com, Reioutlet.com,
> SierraTraders.com and EMS.com's clearance site for deals.
>
> (There might be some equivalent shops down-under, but international
> delivery makes it pretty easy, regardless of your location.)
>
> --Nik

Thanks, I'll have a look. If you or anyone else knows of panniers that
have a shoulder strap or any other convenient means of carrying
off-bike, I'd appreciate a nod in the right direction.

CB

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Sep 8, 2005, 6:29:54 AM9/8/05
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Norm wrote:
> and if you have a rack, there are a number of low cost methods. not exactly
> easy access, but I used a small duffel bag with a nylon webbing strap. Then
> I bought these for around 65 us dollars at a local bike shop:
>
> http://www.pbwbikes.com/product_info.php/products_id/48
>
> there is also the bungee cord and milkcrate approach -

I passed a guy the other day with an enormous plastic storage bin
attached to his rack. It was wide enough to act as a sail in the right
conditions, but he sure could carry a lot.

cocoabliss

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Sep 8, 2005, 9:02:29 AM9/8/05
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Well, this might show as a reply to my original post rather than latest
reply in thread, but I'm still figuring out how Google groups work (vs.
Yahoo). Apologies in advance.

What an amazing life this thread has taken on! I *finally* road in to
work today after I had seat and handlebar ajustments made to my bike
for ergonomics. Gotta say that my wrists and arms feel no worse for the
wear. I'm glad I stuck with my knobby tires because a third of my route
is on gravel and dirt. I devised my route to minimize contact with
motor traffic, safety over speed. Took 35 minutes for 4 km but didn't
seem that long. I ride along a lake and through parks for half the
commute and it ends on a glorious view of Halifax harbour.

I'm loving the Arkel city basket pannier I got (www.panniers.com -
model no longer on their site, alas). Was able to cram paperwork (in a
sturdy plastic portfolio), lunch, change of clothes and some gym
essentials. I still rode with my "purse" (I call a MEC Pod SlingPack a
purse - see mec.ca Product Number: 5001-497 if interested) on my back.

Good thing there is a fitness facility across the street where I'm a
member. Things worked out better than planned - not only had a shower
there before coming into the office, but also left my wet towel and
sweaty "bike" clothes in a locker there for the morning until I get in
for my noon workout, which can be all muscle work now because I'm
getting plenty of cardio with the commute! It helps that today is
gorgeous.

If I can create another new habit successfully, I may just start a
cyclocommuteblog.

Julie

Harvey Simmons

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Sep 8, 2005, 10:20:00 PM9/8/05
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Mark,

Unfortunately, the toolbox is my stuff for work and school. I'm a culinary student and cook at a medical facility, so I need them. I hadn't even thought about bike tools yet. :)

I'll probably need to pick up some bike tools sooner or later. Any suggestions for stuff a n00b like me should buy right away?

Harvey Simmons

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Sep 8, 2005, 10:22:34 PM9/8/05
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Thanks for the tips! I'm dreading the idea of riding on Greenville Ave. at 5:30am. Sounds like terrifyingly perilous to me.

Here are a few particulars about my situation:

1) For now, I'm carrying a toolbox. It's 23" long x 13" high x 12" deep. I bought it for school, but I don't need to carry as much stuff since I'm nearly done with my cooking labs. It's mostly lecture from here on out.

2) I'm in North Dallas, but I head to school at El Centro 2 or 3 times a week. I'll probably ride to one of the DART stations and then take the train into downtown. The only problems I can see are riding on Greenville Ave. and Forest Lane. I'll check out the trail map.

BTW: thanks for the tips about water. The amount of water I drink makes most people stagger when they notice it anyway. I probably drink a gallon (of water) a day easily. I'm not diabetic. I checked. :) I just work in a 90 degree room with high humidity 8 or 9 hours a day.

Richardson Bike Mart is not too far from where I live, so I'll have to go talk with them.

Harvey Simmons

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Sep 8, 2005, 10:27:36 PM9/8/05
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Sheesh, I gotta start applying that "read first, then reply" rule myself...

Mark, thanks for the tip about a toolkit. I was assuming that you meant the toolbox that I referred to in another post I made earlier but didn't send. Given the amount of stuff I carry, I'd hate to walk a loaded bike into work, especially with no sidewalks. (ugh) I'll do some shopping around for a small one with the absolute necessities.

Jon Hind

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Sep 9, 2005, 8:30:37 AM9/9/05
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Re carrying clothes to work. - Probably on the wrong branch of the thread.

I used to drive into work once a week and leave four days of clothes there and take a shower on arrival.

Have you also considered running one way and biking the other ?

oren...@gmail.com

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Sep 9, 2005, 11:26:44 AM9/9/05
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Ugh. Greenville is going to be horrendous. Just be as aggressive
about claiming YOUR lane space as possible -- I've nearly gotten run
off the road countless times when I wasn't planted smack in the middle
of the lane. You'll get over the feelings of guilt associated with
slowing down traffic pretty quickly after the first time you get bumped
by a 98-pound Highland Park soccer mom driving an Escalade.

Also -- I took my first "shower" at the office today using baby-wipes
(thanks to whoever suggested that!). And I can report that I was very
happy with the results. I can heartily recommend the Huggies unscented
Natural Care wipes. (I am such a loser.)

So you're in culinary school at El Centro? I may want to talk to you
about that program as well...

Bryan Ewbank

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Sep 9, 2005, 11:35:12 AM9/9/05
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To join the chorus, from Raleigh NC, USA:

Hurray, I biked to work today! Thank you all for the encouraging
discussion. And yes, I wore a helmet :-)

Two notes to others considering this:

A MIND HACK: A friend at work suggested that I drive half way, then
bike the rest. This means "I can't make it" was no longer an excuse.
Worked great for me.

BEWARE OF DRYROT. My rear tire shredded as I got to the office
(praise the Lord that didn't happen earlier. As my bike (~18 years
old) has innertubes, I did not lose pressure.

---

Next Action: Buy new tires and tubes.

Ella E-L

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Sep 9, 2005, 1:12:20 PM9/9/05
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Having ridden a bike with a milkcrate on the back for most of the
season this year I'd caution against it. It throws off the balance of
the bike no end and makes a surprising difference to the ridability. I
only once or twice found that extra space to be particularly useful.
I'd reccommend panniers or a saddlebag if at all possible, or even a
front basket.

Thom Allen

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Sep 9, 2005, 1:43:43 PM9/9/05
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So Julie, I have been monitoring this thread for a bit now and have been working out what I do and how I do it as I start cycling to work each day. Here is what I have so far:

1. I currently use this backpack until I can get this pannier. It holds my laptop (which I must have for the office), my Dell Axim x5, various Moleskine notebooks and an Apple iPod.

2. A 100 oz. or 3 Liter Camelbak. I don't use this every day. If the weather is really hot I will fill it up for use in the late afternoon. Usually the two water bottles on the bike take care of my water needs. 100 oz. of water can be heavy, as I have found out! But it's better to have too much water than not enough. Besides, I also found out that when you are riding on hot asphalt, the heat rises up and heats the water in the bottles, thus making it taste nasty. Having the Camelbak allows me to put ice in it so the water stays cool and away from the sun (in my backpack.)

The pockets on the outside of this pack allow me to stash my cell phone and iPod for quick access and there is room to hold a bike helmet on the back.

It's light and has room for everything. I wear the trousers or shorts I will be working all day and carry a clean shirt in my pack. I have a locker and shower at the office and keep it supplied with all the toiletries I need to be clean a fresh in the office.

I also have a camera ready. I use a Canon A70 PowerShot and I also have a camera on my Motorola V551 cell phone. Since I started riding I have noticed a lot f really neat things in my city and have started taking pictures of them. I enjoy this however breaking my stride to take a picture has disadvantages.

I keep a couple of nice shirts in my work area in case there is a meeting that requires more dress than I want to crumple in my pack.

And as for capturing thoughts as I ride, well, I use a pocket Mosleskine for that. I make it quickly accessible and when I need to stop at a light or on a bus, I can jot things down. I started using this HipsterPDA hack and it has worked out quite well.

So there you have what I do.

--Thom

On 9/2/05, cocoabliss <jul...@ns.sympatico.ca> wrote:

In light of recent events and the consequences, I'm wondering if some
of you lifehack your way around transportation to and from work on a
bicycle. Any of your tips are appreciated, especially when it comes to
transporting the essentials with you and weathering the elements.

Thanks,
Julie


Justin Lilly

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Sep 9, 2005, 1:58:46 PM9/9/05
to 43Fo...@googlegroups.com
Re: cumpling a shirt in your pack

Don't forget about those aerosol or spraybottle(green-friendly)
wrinkle removers... or try this homebrew solution:

http://www.thriftyfun.com/tf201154.tip.html

-justin

--
Justin Lilly
University of South Carolina
http://www.justinlilly.com

Mark Hurd

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Sep 9, 2005, 4:53:17 PM9/9/05
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Harvey,

I'm in Dallas too! My advice for the hot weather is simply to stay
hydrated and work up your heat acclimation slowly.

I drink about a gallon of water a day (on a regular basis, even if it's
not hot) so that my body is hydrated BEFORE I even hit a trail. Same
goes for riding to work - you can still use a water bottle or camelbak
but you won't have to drink as much and you won't get dehydrated as
easily.

As for heat acclimation, every late June/early July I go to a local
trail that is about a 3 mile loop that never strays very far from the
trailhead. I'll just ride a few laps until I start to feel tired or
slightly sick, then stop immediately, walk back to the car (it's never
more than about 1/2 mile away at any point on the trail) and call it a
day. By doing this 2-3 times a week, by the time it gets Africa Hot in
August you'll be ready to go.

Mark

CB

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Sep 9, 2005, 7:02:06 PM9/9/05
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oren...@gmail.com wrote:
> Ugh. Greenville is going to be horrendous. Just be as aggressive
> about claiming YOUR lane space as possible -- I've nearly gotten run
> off the road countless times when I wasn't planted smack in the middle
> of the lane.

This is very important advice for any city rider. Use a whole lane.
You're entitled to it.

When I used to cycle in London I carried a pocketful of large
ball-bearings to throw at windscreens of homicidal drivers. Older and
mellower now, but in retrospect it still seems justified given that so
many of them tried to kill me. I still remember the broken windscreen
on a famous personage's Rolls ...

> You'll get over the feelings of guilt associated with
> slowing down traffic pretty quickly after the first time you get bumped
> by a 98-pound Highland Park soccer mom driving an Escalade.

Guilt? You're the rider. They're the ones ensuring future Katrinas.

Bryan Ewbank

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Sep 9, 2005, 9:36:48 PM9/9/05